I have been a Joel Osteen fan from 2009. That’s nearly 10 years of watching and reading books from this evangelical phenomenon from Houston, Texas.
I credit him with really helping me to fall in love with God. I found his sermons to be uplifting, encouraging, very measured and loving. He made God seem kind, whereas so many pastors that I had listened to made me fear God. Not respect him. Fear him.
So, as is to be expected, I read Joel’s books. A lot.
Just last week, I was in the bookstore shopping for a book for a friend when I spotted Blessed In The Darkness. I wasn’t looking for a book for me, but after standing there and reading a few paragraphs, I figured I’d buy a copy for myself.
I read up to page 135 when I reluctantly concluded the following: that Blessed In The Darknessfelt rushed, repetitive and was quite frankly, disappointing.
The book is designed to show you how God uses the darkness in life for good. Joel gives great examples of just how God has turned people’s lives around. In those instances where He hasn’t, Joel urges his readers to stay in faith for God is always looking at how we handle situations. I agree with him. It’s not that what he’s saying is untrue. It’s that it’s all been said before.
If you’re a regular Joel watcher like I am, you have heard most of these stories. There are common tropes. He often talks about when his daddy “went to be with the Lord”, when his mom had cancer, the trials and tribulations they encountered when trying to purchase the Compaq center for his church, etc.
We have heard these stories again and again and again and again. Quite frankly, I don’t know why someone doesn’t pull him aside and tell him that he needs new material. Make no mistake, those were huge, defining moments. But, Joel’s life didn’t stop when he got Lakewood a new home. It continues, up to this day and I’m sure he has seen way more dark moments. I was curious to see if he would address the hurricane scandal when he was accused of keeping the doors of his church shut to Texans in need.
I wanted to know how he handles the criticism that his sermons are watered down and too politically correct. Was there a time when he and his wife, Victoria thought they wouldn’t make it? Has he ever felt inadequate as a father? These are new themes that I, as a reader, and a fan would have loved to hear/read. That would keep the content fresh.
The book seemed like Joel lifted a few pages from previous books, threw in a couple new chapters and sat in a photo studio for a new cover shot.
I wanted to like this book a lot. Sadly, I was disappointed.
I think I am done with the Joel Osteen books for now. I take comfort it the fact that his words still resonate with me and for that, I thank him.
Nina Chambers says
I strongly agree with you regarding that Joel Osteen is a good preacher, but he’s at Storyteller telling the same story over and over and over. Yes he needs new material. He is uplifting.
Rogan Smith says
Hi Nina. Thanks for the reply. Yes, you are right. He’s incredibly repetitive. I sometimes get great messages from him, but if you’ve heard one story, you’ve heard them all. His cadence is the same in his speech and in writing.
Been listening to him for years, been reading his books, and definitely was truly inspired. Out of nowhere I searched on google if there’s someone who has the same observation/ realization that Joel Osteen’s preaching are repetitive. It feels like I can already predict the next story that he would say that he would connect to a particular bible verse. Sad.
Rogan Smith says
Hello. Thanks so much for your reply! You and I are on the same page. In fact, while I appreciated Joel’s sermons and books for years, I have disconnected from him because he is very repetitive. I have started leaning towards Dr. Charles Stanley, whom I find to be an extraordinary bible teacher. You sound a lot like me. I find myself Googling certain things to find out if anyone else shares my views. Thanks for dropping by and don’t be a stranger.
Kelly Kathleen says
I agree I too like his sermons but feel its so repetitive besides his own personal stories I’m starting to think there weren’t very many stories in the bible he tells the same ones over and over. I wish he’d start coming up with new sermons because i really do like him.
Rogan Smith says
Hello Kelly. Thank you for your comment. Sadly, I have stopped watching Joel’s TV sermons entirely. I also find that he does not go deep enough in his teachings. The Bible is a wonderful resource, but he doesn’t really teach from it. He mentions a few scriptures and that’s it. He is simply too repetitive. I am grateful for him, though because he was instrumental in drawing me closer to God years ago. But, I have outgrown him. I now watch Dr. Charles Stanley and read his books. He is an EXCELLENT teacher. Thank you so much for your response.